A portrait in swarf: a tribute to Brian, his life, his industry, and to the lives of each and every one of Sheffield’s grinders, past and present.
An evocation of a Spirit of Industry, a ‘spitting’ image, characterised by flesh most friable.
Inherited skills, cultured by the sensations of a gazillion revolutions: the Repository lives, and continues to work.... for the moment.
Cast in residuum, once plentiful and unremarkable, now scarce and peculiar. It’s what’s left after grinding, like the extraordinary skills of man and material, each standing for the other and synonymous in peril.
Swarfhorse was inspired by Anthony’s first sight of Brian at work sat astride his ‘horsin’. Anthony remembers: ‘a golden mane of sparks flying from the grindstone, like a warrior from another age.’ The scene made him recall an earlier sculpture that he had made: a life size interpretation of the war horse buried alongside an Anglo Saxon Chieftain at Sutton Hoo. Anthony used the mould from that sculpture to create this work. It was positioned in front of the grindstone so that it would collect all the swarf as Brian worked. Swarf is the ultrafine grindings of metal produced whilst grinding steel blades. It took six months for the mould to fill, it was then dried out fully before the cast was revealed.